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Black maternal health awareness week runs from 13-18th September 2021 and is dedicated to raising awareness about the disparities in maternal outcomes for Black women.  It was founded in 2020 by Five X More, “a grassroots organisation committed to changing Black women’s maternal health outcomes in the UK”.[1]  Its website  explains that the organisation:

… was initiated in 2019 when two Black mothers came together with the dream of improving maternal mortality rates and health care outcomes for Black women.

Five X More is dedicated to supporting mothers with its campaigning work and recommendations. It focuses on empowering Black women to make informed choices and advocate for themselves throughout their pregnancies and after childbirth.


Analysis of maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths shows mothers and babies from Black/Black British and Asian/Asian British ethnic groups and women living in the most deprived areas of the country have poorer outcomes.[2]

The table below shows data from the latest 2020 MBRRACE-UK report on the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths 2016-18 highlighting the number of maternities and associated deaths by ethnicity. The data is pooled over a three-year period because the small number of cases means that the estimated rates can be associated with a large degree of uncertainty. The associated relative risk of death for women from ethnic groups compared with white women is also provided, along with the confidence intervals associated with these ratios.[3]

The confidence intervals shown below suggest that women from Asian, Black or mixed race backgrounds have an elevated risk of maternal death compared to women from White backgrounds.  Among Black women, the central estimate of the risk of maternal death is more than four times higher than for white women.

Maternal deaths by ethnicity

Source: Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths 2016-18, Table 2.10

Further details of MBBACE-UK’s work is available on its website.

[1] Fivexmore website

[2] MBRRACE-UK, Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care, December 2020

[3] The uncertainty of a ratio can be estimated by calculating a confidence interval (CI) around the estimate to give an indication of the range within which the “true” ratio is likely to arise. The confidence intervals are important in interpreting differences. A confidence interval expresses the degree of uncertainty associated with a statistic and gives an indication that that actual “true” value may lie somewhere between the lower and upper confidence interval. You can use the overlap in confidence intervals as a quick way to check for statistical significance. In general, if the intervals do not overlap there is a statistically significant difference (at a certain level of confidence – usually 95%) whereas if there is an overlap, then the difference is not significant.

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